WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

You only die twice: Atlantic's 2nd longest TS of all-time is dead

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:14 PM GMT on October 04, 2012

The interminable, long-lived, pesky, persistent, perpetual, never-say-day, tenacious, non-stop, I'm-not-dead-yet, Energizer-bunny-like Methuselah of Atlantic tropical cyclones, Tropical Storm Nadine, finally met its permanent doom this morning, but not before bringing tropical storm conditions to the northwest Azores Islands. Sustained winds of 43 mph, gusting to 54 mph, were recorded at Lajes at 8 am local time, as Nadine was completing its transition to an extratropical storm. Today is Nadine's 2nd death; the storm also became extratropical for just over a day on September 22. Nadine logged 21.75 days as a tropical or subtropical cyclone as of 2 am today, making it the fifth longest-lived Atlantic tropical cyclone of all-time (tropical cyclones include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes, but not extratropical storms.) Nadine's 21.25 days as a tropical or subtropical storm make it tied with Hurricane Ginger of 1971 as the Atlantic's second longest tropical storm on record. Only the San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 (28 days) was longer-lived. About one-quarter of this year's total Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in the Atlantic basin so far is due to Nadine. According to the official HURDAT Atlantic database, which goes back to 1851, here are the four previous Atlantic tropical cyclones have lasted longer than Nadine (thanks go to Brian McNoldy for these stats):

1) San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899: 28 days
2) Ginger, 1971: 27.25 days
3) Inga, 1969: 24.75 days
4) Kyle, 2002: 22 days
5) Nadine, 2012: 21.75 days

The National Hurricane Center issued 88 advisories on Nadine, and lucky NHC hurricane specialist Lixion Avila got to write the final epitaph in today's 11 am EDT advisory: "Bye bye Nadine...what a long strange trip its been." See you again in 2018, Nadine.

Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Nadine taken at 11:35 am EDT September 30, 2012. At the time, Nadine was at peak strength, with top winds of 90 mph. Image credit: NASA.

Oscar becomes the 15th named storm of 2012
The first new tropical storm in the Atlantic since September 12 is Tropical Storm Oscar, which was upgraded to a 40 mph tropical storm on Wednesday night. Oscar won't be around very long, and will not be a threat to any land areas. The storm is already suffering significantly from moderate wind shear of 15 - 20 knots, which has exposed the low-level center to view, and pushed all of Oscar's heavy thunderstorms well away from the center of circulation, to the storm's east side. Wind shear is expected to rise to a high 20 - 25 knots tonight, and ocean temperatures will cool from 28°C today to 27°C by Friday. All of the computer models show Oscar ceasing to exist by Saturday, as the storm becomes absorbed by a cold front attached to a large extratropical storm. Oscar is a classic example of a weak, short-lived tropical cyclone that would have gotten missed before satellites came around. Oscar's formation brings this year's tally of named storms to fifteen, tying 2012 for 11th place for most tropical storms in a year. This puts 2012 in the top 10% of busiest Atlantic hurricane seasons for number of storms, since record keeping began in 1851. Despite the large number of named storms this year, we've had a pretty average number of strong hurricanes, so this year's Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) is only about 20% higher than average for this time of year.

Figure 2. Morning satellite image of Tropical Storm Oscar.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic
None of the computers is predicting development of a new tropical cyclone over the Atlantic in the coming seven days. We will need to watch the waters between the Bahama Islands and Bermuda early next week, though, where the tail end of a cold front pushing off the U.S. East Coast may serve as the focal point for development of a tropical disturbance.

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.